- Tuesday, December 23 1997 -
American - 52 (Head Coach: Art Perry) - [Unranked]
Kentucky - 75 (Head Coach: Orlando Smith) - [Ranked 4th by AP]
Halftime Score: Kentucky 35, American 25
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Game Writeup - Courtesy of Dr. Jeffrey Neil Burch; Dr. J's UK Newsletter, Vol. 7 No. 17. (All Rights Reserved)
UK defeated the American Eagles 75-52 in Rupp Arena. Kentucky was ranked #4 by AP for this game.
Scott Padgett scored the game's 1st pts, but American went up on a Nathan Smith 3 to take a 3-2 lead. The lead see-sawed for a few minutes before Kentucky went up permanently following a Padgett 3 (making the score 9-8). But shots by Jones and a Nathan Smith 3 closed to within 20-19, and American actually tied the game at 25-25 following a Telly 19 footer. UK scored the next 10 pts, however (thanks to a Turner 12 footer, a pair of Smith FTs, an Edwards steal and dunk, an Edwards tipin putback, and an Edwards dunk). The Wildcats led 35-25 at the break, having shot 50% from the floor in the 1st half and having only 3 turnovers.
Kentucky started to pull away in the 2nd half, with Padgett scoring on a 12 footer and a dunk. Childs finally hit a 15 footer, but UK's press began to wear down the Eagles, and after a Padgett 18 footer it was 43-29 Kentucky. With the score 45-34 just after a TV timeout, UK scored the next 12 pts thanks to a Mills 3, a couple of Mohammed layups, a long Mills 2, and an Edwards 3. With the large margin, Coach Tubby Smith took out Jeff Sheppard who was still suffering pain from a minor back injury. A Mohammed hook made it 62-37 Kentucky, and the Cats again went on a tear, scoring the next 7 straight pts. Nathan Smith hit a 3, but the writing was on the wall. Near the end a technical foul was called on Mike Bradley for hanging on the rim [JNB note - officials seem to have gotten away from calling this, possibly due to the provision that players may hold onto the rim to avoid injury. Nevertheless, Bradley's action was certainly no worse than many other rim-grabs for which fouls are not called]. The Wildcats cruised at the end (leading by as much as 32) before settling for a 75-52 victory, following a FT and 3 by Olsen which closed the margin somewhat.
American player Ossie Jones had played against the UK JV team while attending Hargrave Military Academy.